Painting of the week No.25: Titus, the Artist’s Son by Rembrant

We visited the Wallace Collection in London last Saturday. It was very busy with visitors. We saw but just a couple of people wearing face masks. We booked a table for lunch on the day before, well worth doing, as the restaurant was full, with a queue for tables.

Enough of the chit chat. I enjoyed a walk through the picture galleries. I stopped and admired a couple of my favourite paintings, The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals, and A Boy Bringing Bread by Pieter de Hooch.

The painting by Rembrant of Titus, the Artist’s Son is now an addition to my favourite Wallace Collection paintings. I stood in front of the painting and admired the how Rembrant captured the humanity and character of his son. Rembrant’s understanding of skin tones, and how light plays on the face and hair, is magical. There can be few other artists with such an ability.

The Wallace Collection’s image, HERE, can be expanded so you can see it in finer detail than my photos below. [ click on images below to expand].

Painting of the week No.19: Departure of the Diligence, Biarritz by Abraham Solomon

Odd, that I’ve called it painting of the week, because it’s certainly not a weekly thing. This is only number 19 since the first of the series in 2009.

The Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway, University of London in Egham has been a source of many of my paintings of the week. Our latest visit, last week, provides another.

I’d admired Departure of the Diligence, Biarritz by Abraham Solomon in an earlier visit. It was positioned high up in the gallery making close-up viewing difficult. In our more recent visits to the gallery the painting wasn’t on view, We were informed that it had been away for cleaning, and had recently returned to the gallery. What a difference cleaning has made, the colours are so much brighter. [Click on image to expand – see all the pictures in the gallery at Art UK].

Here’s my extract from the gallery catalogue, which expresses my views perfectly,

This painting was Solomon’s last work before he died in Biarritz, to where he had gone in 1861 for a rest cure for a heart condition. Solomon’s paintings were admired for their brilliance of colour, and for his interest in costume. The painting contains much in the way of incidental detail and careful grouping of figures, who weave an intricate pattern across the picture surface, again something so admired in Solomon’s work.

Painting of the week No.18: Garden with Blue Terrace by David Hockney, 2015

Why, oh why, did I bother to call it Painting of the Week, when I’ve signally failed to deliver just 18 since 2009.  I guess it’s because for each such painting I must have seen it up close, which sort of limits the choice, and I’m also rather picky in my choices.

Never mind. I visited the David Hockey exhibition at Tate Britain in February this year, and to date haven’t posted a painting from that exhibition as a Painting of the Week. I found the Paul Nash exhibition, on at the same time at Tate Britain, more appealing, probably because the crowds were fewer. The volume of visitors detracted from the Hockney exhibition experience, not allowing time to contemplate the paintings, especially so for the large artworks.

Hockney’s creative range, and the ability to reinvent himself, is part of what makes him such an outstanding artist. I particularly liked the large paintings, though appreciated his adventure in experimenting with photography, film, and iPad and iPhone work. The Hockney retrospective exhibition, the Guardian reports, is the Tate Britain’s most popular exhibition.

See more about David Hockney at Hockney Pictures, and The Guardian.

Painting of the week No.17: The Rye Marshes by Paul Nash

Here’s another painting by Paul Nash for Painting of the Week. I surprise myself finding that my first painting of the week was in September 2009. Must resolve to make such posts properly weekly.

The Rye Marshes by Paul Nash, 1932 could have be seen at the Paul Nash exhibition at Tate Britain, which ended on 5th March. In Painting of the Week No.16 I selected a work from Nash’s time as as war artist, and described my regard oh his work. [Click on image, below, to expand]

Recovering from the effects of WW1 on his health, Nash lived in Dymchurch on the Romney Marshes, and then moved to live near Rye. This was during his Surrealist period, where the quiet of the countryside helped banish memories of the war. The Rye Marshes painting was commissioned by the publicity director for Shell, and was subsequently used by Shell in their advertising, part of the ‘Everywhere You Go You Can Be Sure of Shell’ series advertising Shell Motor Spirit. This was the time when Shell Guides were produced to promote tourism in the UK.

Here are a few links where you can learn more about Paul Nash and his work.

Painting of the week No.16: The Menin Road by Paul Nash

Gosh, my last painting of the week was in October last year, and here’s me who likes art in all its forms. I said that I’d attended the Paul Nash and David Hockney exhibitions at Tate Britain. So you, no doubt, expect a painting of the week from the exhibitions.

I find Paul Nash’s work to contain an indefinable sense of Englishness. For me he follows the tradition of English landscape painting, though from a modernist and surrealist perspective; influenced as he was by the work of such as Rene Magritte, and Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, and Barbara Hepworth.

It is Nash’s work as a war artist in World War I, and to a lesser degree in World War II when his health had given out, that is exceptional, displaying anger at the desolation, and despoliation of the battlefields. My selected work from Nash’s oeuvre is his monumental painting [6ft x 10ft] – The Menin Road, painted between 1918 and 1919. Here’s the painting, and beneath which are a number of sources on Nash and his work. [click on image to expand]


Painting of the week No.15: A Dutch Beurtman Aground on the Terschelling Sands, by Edward William Cooke

This week we visited the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway in Egham joining a small group at a Look and Learn event, where the college curator, Dr Harriet O’Neill, led a discussion and examination of William Powell Frith’s 1862 painting, The Railway Station.

While in the Picture Gallery I admired A Dutch Beurtman Aground on the Terschelling Sands, in the North Sea after a Snowstorm by Edward William Cooke 1865, which is my painting of the week. Click on images to enlarge. I’ve posted both images in large size so you can view the painting in detail.

Painting of the week No.14: HMS Vanguard by Leslie A Wilcox

My rule in Painting of the Week is that I must have stood in front of the painting, and been, in one way or another, moved by the image and its story.
This Painting of the Week is somewhat different. I bought a painting recently at an auction in Sussex. It’s of HMS Vanguard by Leslie A Wilcox (1904-1982), size 11 x 16in. The painting is a gouache [pronounced gwash], which is similar to watercolour paint, but with an added thickening agent.

Was it expensive? No. I was the only bidder. Why did I want it? For sentimental reasons. My brother and I boarded the battleship when it was on a courtesy visit to Weymouth Harbour in 1953. As young boys we were on a family holiday in Weymouth, and for an adventure my father took us on board on one of the ship’s visitor days. It’s a reminder of my boyhood with my father and my brother. Happy, happy, carefree days.


Painting of the week No.13: The Harbour Bar by Edwin Ellis

Those among you who are regular readers here will, no doubt, be expecting a painting of the week, being as we visited the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway last week.

Not being one to disappoint, here’s No.13 in the painting of the week series. It’s The Harbour Bar by Edwin Ellis 1842-1895 [click on image to expand]. You can see this painting and the others [there are three in my painting of the week series – see below the painting] on the upcoming Heritage Open Day on Sunday 11th September.


The Harbour Bar, Edwin Ellis [1842-1895]

There are three of the Royal Holloway pictures in my Painting of the Week series,

Painting of the week No.12: Foxgloves by Nikolai Astrup

Dulwich Picture Gallery is hosting, until May 12th 2016, an exhibition of the works of little known Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup. Signifying the importance of the exhibition, Nikolai Astrup: Painting Norway, it was officially opened by HM the Queen of Norway.

The exhibition is described thus,

Dulwich Picture Gallery presents the radically innovative works of Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup (1880 – 1928) for the painter and printmaker’s first ever major London exhibition – and indeed the world’s, outside of Norway.

One of the most renowned Norwegian artists, Astrup’s work transforms the rugged Norwegian landscape into a mythical, living entity. Exploring the luscious, colourful paintings and radical innovation in printmaking that defined the Norwegian artist’s career, the exhibition will bring over 90 oil paintings and prints, including works from private collections never exhibited before, to London.

From the little I picked up at the exhibition, Nikolai Astrup, like many artists lived a somewhat tortured and impoverished existence. That in no way diminishes the magical uniqueness of his blending of Norwegian folklore with stunning Norwegian vistas. Astrup’s works leave a lasting impression in the mind, wonderfully so too. My choice of the painting of his from the exhibition is Foxgloves, a large 1920 woodcut [68 x 77 cm]. The artistic effort to create such large and colourful woodcut must have been immense.

Foxgloves by Nikolai Astrup

Painting of the week No.11: Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

Following our visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery I’ve gone all arty. My rule is that I must have stood in respectful awe in front of a painting, and that it left a lasting pleasing mental glow of having seen it up close. You’d be imagining that I’d post an article an art at Dulwich. Not just yet. The memory of Sandro Botticelli’s painting, Birth of Venus, at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is stronger. [Click on image to expand].


I should say to start with that the painting is huge. It’s almost 6ft x 9ft. Painted between 1484-1486, it’s in the period when one needs a certain amount of interpretation to add to the enjoyment of the painting. The beauty of the Venus – the goddess of love – is meant to let the viewer contemplate the coming together of earthly and spiritual beauty and love.

Much of the painting is from classical mythology. To the left of the painting, Zephyr, the male spirit of the west wind along with his female companion blows her ashore in her scallop shell through a shower of pink roses. To the right of the painting is a myrtle tree, with Flora, goddess of spring offering her with a cloak.

You can find out more about the painting and the Renaissance following these links,